Künstlerhaus, Halle für Kunst & Medien

Melanie Gilligan

30 Jan - 03 Mar 2016

The Common Sense, Melanie Gilligan
HD video, 2013–2015, courtesy Max Mayer, Dusseldorf
The Common Sense Substitution
30 January — 3 March 2016

The videos of Melanie Gilligan (*1979 Toronto, lives in New York) address current political and economic conditions through intricate narratives, adopting the form of television series. These employ drama, comedy, science fiction and horror using visual styles of contemporary film and television. One recurrent theme in Gilligan’s work is how economic forces shape various aspects of life today. Since the economic crisis of 2008, Gilligan has made several narrative video works that address the effects of this event on the political landscape. The artist does not deal with economic exchange in isolation but puts this in relation to, among other things, processes of subjectivation, the status of physical bodies and affect in contemporary capitalism and the demands of work. Many of her videos involve situations where individuals or groups are put in direct relation with systemic conditions in unexpected or unlikely ways.

This exhibition presents a section of Gilligan’s recent serial video work “The Common Sense” (2014-15) alongside the premier of a video, “Substitution” (2014), made in collaboration with the artist group Wooloo. In both these works economic conditions impact and shape the characters, their situations and their collective relations but there are few simple answers about how these processes play out. In this way, these two pieces take up certain problems of collectivity today, its urgency and its obstacles. The question common to both works is what are the possibilities for collective political and social formations today when the predominant connections with others are through technological and economic abstractions?

"The hypothetical, sci-fi scenario of 'The Common Sense' is constructed around the basic question, 'What would the world be like if we didn’t have separate needs?'. To explore the implications of this proposition, Gilligan imagines a newly invented technology that allows individuals to feel one another’s embodied physical and affective experiences. This idea of collectivizing basic aspects of human experience resonates with French philosopher Gilbert Simondon’s notion of the 'transindividual.' For Simondon, this refers to those elements that both belong to and exceed the boundaries of the individual. Gilligan’s new work explores the political potential residing in such 'transindividual,' collectively shared dimensions of subjectivity. In a world where monetary value reigns as the dominant connective tissue among human beings, what would happen if a technology allowed bodily experiences to be overlapped?" (Amy Luo, Canadian Art, Winter 2015)
A catalogue is published with Trondheim Kunstmuseum and Sternberg Press, Berlin.

Exhibitions (selection)
"Melanie Gilligan,“ Trondheim Kunstmuseum, Trondheim,
Norway (solo) (2016)
"Nervous Systems. Quantified Self and the Social Question,“ HKW – Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2016)
"TeleGen. Kunst und Fernsehen,“ Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein,
Vaduz (2016)
"FLUIDITY – The dematerialization of society (and its art objects),“ Kunstverein in Hamburg (2016)
"British Art Show 8,“ Leeds Art Gallery, Leeds (2015)
"Inhuman,“ Fridericianum, Kassel (2015)
"The Common Sense III,“ de Appel, Amsterdam (solo) (2015)
"The Common Sense II,“ de Hallen, Haarlem (solo) (2015)
"flats,“ Team Gallery, New York (2015)
"The Common Sense I,“ Casco, Utrecht (solo) (2014)
"The Little Things Could Be Dearer,“ MoMA PS1, New York (2014)
"4 x exchange /abstraction,“ Galerie Max Mayer, Düsseldorf (solo) (2014)
"and Materials and Money and Crisis,“ mumok, Vienna (2013)
"Dissident Futures,“ Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2013)
"Carbon 14,“ Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto (2013)
"Financial Report,“ Artspace, Melbourne (2013)
"Popular Unrest,“ VOX Centre de l’image contemporaine,
Montréal (solo) (2012)
"Crisis in the Credit System,“ Justina M. Barnicke Gallery,
Toronto (solo) (2012)
"Self-Capital,“ Inter Access, Toronto (solo) (2011)
"Melanie Gilligan,“ Kölnischer Kunstverein, Cologne (solo) (2010)
"Melanie Gilligan,“ Chisenhale Gallery, London (solo) (2010)

Tags: Melanie Gilligan